Using Inbound to Create a Personalized Experience for Customers
You know that ad you keep seeing while you browse news sites? The one for the accessory for the kitchen widget you bought online last week? Well, that’s one simple example of what we’re talking about today—personalized marketing.
Inbound marketing is full of ways to customize and personalize your content to hit your target more squarely and reinforce their belief in your message and their trust in your company. From emails that address your customer by name, to ads like the one discussed in the intro, all the way to custom webpages appearing for different visitors to your homepage. And all of this is possible now using inbound marketing techniques and automation solutions.
1. Start with your Subscription Email List
The low-hanging fruit of personalized marketing is your email list. It also happens to be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for making potential customers and existing alike feel a connection with your brand. And the place to start is by personalizing your opt-in email newsletter.
They gave you their contact info, don’t misuse that trust
When we talk about opt-in email marketing, we’re talking about using the contact information site visitors gave you in exchange for access to gated content, the sign-up list from that last convention you had a booth at, and any other potential customers who have willingly given you their email addresses. That shows a level of trust between the customer and your company that you need to nurture and prove that you respect.
And you can do that by NOT inundating your list with boilerplate email newsletters, offers that don’t apply to half of your list, or other generic content. Segment your list by filtering it down using demographics, geographics, or any other parameter your CMS has to offer. Now you have smaller niche groups that can easily be targeted with more specific offers, updates on just the piece of your industry they’re interested in, and so on. The benefits of marketing segmentation are many:
- Higher open rates
- Higher click-through rates
- Higher conversion rates
For starters. This method also allows you to send fewer emails in total, cutting your overhead dramatically. And as a bonus, you may also see a lowering of unsubscribe requests because people are only seeing email content that applies directly to them.
Do you open your email in the middle of the night?
Marketing email automation solutions (and there are many to choose from) also allow you to schedule when each segmented message is sent. That way, your London list, and your Los Angeles list will each receive their newsletter just in time for morning coffee, instead of it getting lost in the Monday morning inbox inundation.
This level of customization is easy on your end, yet shows your subscribers that you truly care about them, their culture, and that you will maintain that level of trust in all of your interactions. It’s also key to have the From: field display a person’s name, not a generic “No_Reply” email address. Use the director of your department or the CMO, just be sure to ask permission first and don’t use their actual email as the return address!
To be sure your email marketing efforts are working, cross-check them with our FREE Email Marketing Checklist:
Target visitors who have already downloaded content
Some number of folks in your CMS database will be there because they requested access to gated content. That’s a ready-made segment right there. Use your automation tool to send a follow-up email a week after this initial request with additional links to deeper dives into the same topics, reminders of upcoming webinars, etc.
2. Make Full Use of Your Website Cookies
Paying careful attention to any rules and regulations that dictate how tracking information can be used (like the GDPR in Europe), CMS tools like Wordpress and Hubspot offer powerful ways to customize site visitors experience. You can set up custom CTAs to visitors that will direct them to content they don’t already have or that is related to the last thing they clicked on.
You can also customize entire pages on your site in a similar way, Hubspot offers what they call “smart content” that will rotate through preset options based on parameters you set and that are triggered by the cookie left the last time that person visited the site. These pages can also greet the person by name (if you also have their contact info in your CRM) and display content tailored precisely to their previously expressed interests.
3. Location, Location, Location
Geo-fencing is a technology that lets app makers target smartphone users with location-specific offers, ads, and content. By using the GPS locator in the user's smartphone, your app can send a push alert whenever they’re near one of your retail locations with coupon offers, or when they arrive at a venue where you have a convention booth.
4. Retargeting Lets You Tailor the Ads a Customer Sees
Recall the example we began with, that display ad for a widget accessory that you see across multiple sites. That’s an example of retargeting. Retargeting is a way of reminding people who have visited your site how much they loved it and welcoming them to a return visit for more great content, offers, etc.
Making use of those tracking cookies from above, retargeting allows specific visitors to see specific ads whenever they visit any site that participates in the retargeting ad network you belong to. This technique increases brand recognition and recall and reminds folks of your quality offerings. It also encourages them to remember how much your product benefits them and reminds them to come back often for more.
Inbound marketing offers many, many ways to customize and tailor the experience your customers have when they do business with you or visit your website. The bottom line is this—people trust people.
If you can make a personal connection with a potential customer, or refresh the relationship with an existing one through personalized experiences such as those discussed today, you’ll be able to turn a regular customer into a brand advocate and a trusting customer, for life.